These Search Engine Marketing Guidelines apply to Merchants using search engine optimisation to improve their natural or organic search engine results as well as Paid Search (meaning any form of online advertising that ties the presentation of an ad to a specific keyword-based search request) or similar on-line targeted marketing methods to drive traffic to their sites.
Merchants notified of a violation of these guidelines are expected to respond within 2 business days and to disable non-conforming links, ads, or pages within that time frame after their first offense.
I. Site Content Guidelines
These Site Content Guidelines apply to websites and individual web pages of Merchants used for marketing and/or displaying hotel accommodations of any Supplier brand.
A. Website text and rates listed must comply with Supplier’s advertising standards outlined within these Guidelines. Merchant may not make any claims on its website that it offers specially discounted rates on Supplier inventory that are not made available by Supplier through other authorised channels. This includes but is not limited to the following phrases in connection with Supplier trademarks: “substantial discounts,” “online exclusive rates,” “exclusive savings,” “lowest price guaranteed,” or “lowest rates.”
B. Merchant may not make any false, misleading, unsubstantiated or deceptive claims in connection with the use of any Supplier trademark on any website or individual web page such as “save 70%”.
C. A website may not use any Supplier trademark in its domain name(s).
II. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) Guidelines
These SEO Guidelines apply to websites and individual pages of Merchants that market and/or display any Travel Service and use search engine optimisation tactics in order to gain rankings in natural search results.
A. Metadata and Title Tags: A website should not present itself as an “official Supplier site” by means of keywords anywhere in the metadata or title tags. Websites should not use “discounting” language in relation to Supplier brands as keywords in the metadata or title tags (for example, “cheap Supplier rooms” or “discounted Supplier rooms”). Websites may not employ excessive repetition of Supplier -related keywords (keyword stuffing) within metadata for the purpose of skewing search results.
B. Deceptive redirects (cloaking): Websites should not present one type of page content to the search engines to achieve rankings on a Supplier-related search, but redirect users to another page that contains different or unrelated content.
C. Hidden or invisible text: Websites should not place Supplier-related keyword-rich text on a page that is the same colour as the background, such that it is hidden from a visitor’s view but not from search engine spiders.
D. One-way linkages to Supplier.com: Websites should not contain multiple links directly pointing to Supplier.com for the purpose of skewing search results unless permitted to do so by an authorised Supplier representative.
III. Supplier Brand and Mark Keyword Guidelines
The following guidelines apply in the United States to the purchase of keywords in paid search campaigns (meaning any form of online advertising that ties the presentation of an ad to a specific keyword-based search request) or other forms of online targeted advertising offered by companies operating:
- Search engines, e.g., Google, Yahoo, Bing;
- Travel search sites, e.g., TripAdvisor or USBestHotels; or
- Comparison sites, e.g., NexTag, Sidestep, BookingBuddy.
These guidelines apply to the search engine marketing efforts of Merchants.
A. Under no circumstances shall Merchant buy keywords containing any of the marks identified on the “Supplier Brand and Mark Keyword Exceptions List.” The marks of these Suppliers shall also be negative keywords for all general broadmatch keyword terms.
B. Keywords should not consist solely of the Supplier brands and/or marks and should instead always contain additional qualifying words such as a location, e.g. “New York Hyatt,” or “JFK Airport Ramada Inn.”
C. Ad copy should be consistent with the Supplier’s advertising standards and should not contain language that states “special” rates, “web only rates” or “savings” associated with Supplier brands when the consumer’s keyword phrase contains the keywords of the brand or mark.
D. Links from Supplier brand and mark keyword driven ads should take the consumer to a page where only Supplier’s properties are displayed – not a page that lists one Supplier hotel followed by its competitors’ hotels. The landing page should display only Supplier hotel brands.
E. Ads should be clearly identifiable and transparent as ads from Merchant and not from the Supplier.
F. When buying generic keywords such as “hotel” on programs such as Google’s broadmatch, the Supplier’s brands and marks must be listed as a negative keyword to ensure compliance with the ad copy and landing page guidelines above.
IV. Supplier Brand and Mark Keyword Exceptions List
With respect to the following brands and marks, under no circumstances shall Merchant buy keywords in the United States containing any of the marks of these Suppliers. The marks of these Suppliers shall also be negative keywords for all general broadmatch keyword terms. These marks may be updated by Suppliers at any time. The marks are as follows:
A. Choice International Hotel marks - “CLARION HOTEL”, “CLARION RESORT”, “CLARION SUITES”, “CLARION INN”, “CLARION COLLECTION”, “COMFORT INN”, “COMFORT HOTEL”, “COMFORT INN & SUITES”, AND “COMFORT HOTEL & SUITES”, “ECONOLODGE”, “MAINSTAY SUITES”, “RODEWAY INN”, “SLEEP INN”, “SLEEP INN & SUITES”, “QUALITY INN”, “QUALITY HOTEL”, “QUALITY INN & SUITES”, and “QUALITY SUITES”
B. Hilton marks - “HILTON”, “HAMPTON INN”, “HAMPTON INN & SUITES”, “CONRAD HOTELS”, “HILTON GARDEN INN”, “DOUBLETREE”, “DOUBLETREE GUEST SUITES”, “DOUBLETREE CLUB HOTEL”, “HILTON GRAND VACATION COMPANY”, “EMBASSY SUITES HOTELS”, “HOMEWOOD SUITES BY HILTON”, and “SCANDIC”
C. Hyatt marks - “HYATT”, “HYATT REGENCY”, “GRAND HYATT” and “PARK HYATT”
D. IHG marks - “HOLIDAY INN”, “HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS”, “EXPRESS BY HOLIDAY INN”, “HOLIDAY INN GARDEN COURT”, “HOLIDAY INN SELECT”, “HOLIDAY INN SUNSPREE”, “HOLIDAY INN FAMILY SUITES RESORT”, “CROWNE PLAZA”, “INTERCONTINENTAL”, “STAYBRIDGE SUITES”,”CANDLEWOOD SUITES”, “INDIGO”, and “PRIORITY CLUB”.